Annual Thanksgiving community meal canceled


File photo Volunteers Jenny Carmer, left, Lisa Piercefield, Alli Piercefield, Lynsey Metz, Hanna Scudder and Josephine Digiovanni serve meals Saturday at the Eastside Community Center's annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in 2010.

Those looking to attend Community Provisions’ annual free Thanksgiving Day community meal next week will have to make other arrangements.

Paul Brock, director of the local food pantry, said the agency decided not to have the meal this year because of a decline in the number of people participating last year.

Instead, Provisions has purchased food for 160 Thanksgiving baskets that it will distribute to needy families for the holiday.

“We had a sign-up for those, and the list for all 160 baskets is full,” he said.

Those baskets will include a full-size turkey or ham as well as other food traditionally served for Thanksgiving. They will be distributed Tuesday.

“It’s a full-course Thanksgiving meal for 160 families,” Brock said. “It probably would have cost us less to make and serve the meal ourselves, but we

decided to go this route.”

Brock said it takes many months of coordinated planning and a large group of volunteers, including a certified food handler, to pull off the annual meal.

After poor attendance last year, people were “burned out,” he added.

“It’s a lot of work, and we have been short people,” he said.

Throughout the years, Brock said the number of people taking advantage of the free Thanksgiving meal has decreased, too. At one point, as many as 1,000 people were being served.

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